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GenScript and Avectas link up to improve non-viral cell therapy processes

The two biotech leaders have embarked on a research project to streamline manufacturing.

GenScript – the life-sciences research tools and services provider – and Avectas, a cell engineering technology company, are partnering to develop an improved non-viral cell therapy manufacturing process.

The two companies are focusing on new methods for developing cell therapies that offer an improved safety profile over viral and non-viral vector techniques.

By combining Avectas’ cell engineering technology with GenScript’s specialism in synthetic long oligo production, the partnership aims to demonstrate a novel and efficient solution for cell therapy manufacturing and to improve editing efficiency and cell viability over traditional delivery methods.

CRISPR-based non-viral gene editing methods have gained popularity among research teams following concerns about the FDA’s recent draft guidance on the use of viruses for gene and cell therapy. GenScript is collaborating with both academic and industry partners in the development of CRISPR non-viral gene editing to enable next-generation gene- and cell-therapy R&D projects.

The research teams will apply Solupore technology to permeabilise the target cell membrane so that engineered cargoes can be delivered while retaining high levels of cell viability and functionality. GenCRISP synthetic sgRNA and Cas9 proteins are then complexed into a ribonucleic protein that is co-delivered with GenExac into the cell nucleus.

“GenScript is excited to partner with Avectas as part of our programme to develop novel RNP and oligo delivery systems for non-viral cell engineering,” explained Ray Chen, president of GenScript USA Life Science Group. “We expect this method will provide our customers with more complete solutions for efficient gene editing using our GenCRISPR sgRNA and ss/dsDNA HDR templates.”

Michael Maguire, chief executive officer of Avectas, added: “This will enable the development of next-generation cell therapies differentiated by the quality of the modified cells, which retain high viability, functionality and post-process proliferation.”